Friday, December 20, 2013

A Visit From St. Nicholas ... ??

"Twas the night before Christmas
When all through The Weave
Not a creature was stirring
Who didn't have a peeve ... "

Hmm. Curiouser and curiouser. Every single one of the previous nine Christmases I have celebrated as an employee of Weaver Street Market, we workers have been offered a choice of gift. This year, not. We were summarily presented with a WSM Gift Card.

Now, a gift's a gift. Granted. But is something else at work? Is it not so much a jolly fat man in a red suit that will be visiting us next week as a guy with red ink?

Tell you what. I'll make a list of some recent occurrences. And you connect the dots as you see fit:

1) By all accounts, the very expensive refit of the Carrboro store ran over budget, and has not yet been completed. There is a degree of consternation among both customers and employees that the single-minded drive to create an energy-efficient entity has left what was a rather homely co-op with all the atmosphere of an underused morgue. And there is strong suggestion it is having an effect on sales.

2) We are now on our second bagel machine.

3) Panzanella will close tomorrow (December 21). Apparently the WSM Board of Directors made the decision in principle to close Panzanella a year ago. But there was no consultation with owners or workers. And certainly the first we in the Southern Village knew store about it was when we were told (without consultation or any other advance warning) a month ago.

4) Employees will shortly have their pay paid by direct deposit, whether we like that or not. Apparently this will save the co-op money. Again, there was no consultation. And WSM Employee Co-op Policy demands that workers have meaningful input into all major decisions affecting workers and their workplace.

5) Starting about three weeks ago, all the managers in all of the WSM entities began applying the old poke-in-the-back-look-busy school of management with fervor.

I could wax lyrical, as someone who, when he was merrily dancing the capitalist fandango on the other side of the political aisle, was paid six figures a year as a management consultant, about what it looks like when a company gets itself in a cash flow mess (again).

But I won't. As I said, I will let you connect your own dots. But I would suggest to customers, keep a look out for further weird decisions where you are not consulted; and to employees, beware corner-cutting and even more back-prodding ...

[Oh yeah. As always, I am bound by another section of WSM Employee Co-op Policy to point out that these are my views, and not those of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, St. Nicholas or any of the WSM corporate office management team ... ]